Now that the NBA regular season has ended, it is time to shift the focus on the NBA Playoffs. The Playoffs begin this week with the top 16 teams battling to the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The Eastern Conference Playoffs will have a new king since 2010. The top two teams in the league reside in the East. The best team overall will be feature n this piece here.
With that being said, let’s dive into the one-seed against eighth-seed matchup and the fourth-seed against fifth-seed matchup.
1. Milwaukee Bucks vs. 8. Detroit Pistons
The best team in NBA from start to finish has been the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks finished the regular season with the overall best record at 60-22 and are the overall top-seed in the playoffs. The Bucks are led by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak averaged 27.7PPG (3rd), 12.5RPG (6th), 5.9APG, and 1.53BPG (10th). Head Coach, Mike Budenholzer, in his first as the Bucks’ coach is in line for the Coach of the Year Award.
The Bucks improved by 16 games from last season to this season and from a seventh-seed in the East last year to the best team overall for these playoffs. Milwaukee is tops in PPG scoring 118.1PPG. Third in field goal percentage at 47.6%. Number one in rebounds per game at 49.7RPG. Tied for second in blocks with 5.9BPG.
It will be interesting to see how this Bucks team will do in these playoffs as the top dog in the East.
The last final team to clinch a playoff spot was the Detroit Pistons. They needed a miracle comeback from 25 down to Memphis and the beatdown of the New York Knicks on the final day of the season to make the playoffs.
Behind All-Star, Blake Griffin, the Pistons are back in the playoffs since 2016. That year in was a clean sweep by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Pistons. Three years later, an all-star player, and new head coach, the Pistons are back but could suffer the same fate as 2016. A two more win improvement from last year to this year was the difference for the Pistons at 41-41 with a series with the top team coming in maid-April.
Griffin averaged 24.5PPG, 7.5RPG, and 5.4APG this season. Andre Drummond leads the league in rebounds with 15.6RPG. Under new head coach, Dwane Casey, the Pistons seem to be on the right track despite facing a uphill challenge.
The Milwaukee Bucks swept the regular season over the Detroit Piston, 4-0. The Bucks scored at least 115 in three of the four meetings and Detroit scored less than 100 in two of the four meetings. The Bucks have a 59 point differential over the Pistons (458-399). The Milwaukee Bucks averaged 114.5 PPG against the Pistons and Detroit averaged 99.75PPG against the Bucks.
Detroit will Drummond and Griffin to be monster on the inside especially on the boards if they want a chance in this series. Reggie Jackson will play out of his mind as well. On the Bucks side, just keep doing what you been doing. The Greek Freak being the freak that he is. Khris Middleton providing the scorer and the rest of the team doing their respective parts.
The Bucks are just better than Detroit and it will continue to show in the playoffs. Milwaukee Bucks to sweep the Detroit Pistons.
BUCKS IN 4!
- Game 1: Sunday in Milwaukee 7PM TNT
- Game 2: Wednesday in Milwaukee 8PM NBATV
- Game 3: April 20 in Detroit 8PM ESPN
- Game 4: April 22 in Detroit 8PM TNT
- Game 5: April 24 in Milwaukee
- Game 6: April 26 in Detroit
- Game 7: April 28 in Milwaukee
4. Boston Celtics vs. 5. Indiana Pacers
The Boston Celtics came into the 2018-2019 season as the favorites to win the East in the post-LeBron Era, but it has been anything but that. A number of stretches during the season where you trying to figure out what the problem was in Boston. Kyrie Irving having trouble in the leadership role. Key players suffering injuries throughout the season. Nevertheless, the Boston Celtics under Brad Stevens got the fourth-seed in the Eastern Playoffs.
Unfortunately, the Celtics will begin the playoffs without the services of Marcus Smart. Smart suffered a torn oblique at the end of the season. Smart is expected two miss at least the first two rounds of the playoffs if the Celtics get so far enough for him to return.
Boston finished the season at 49-33. A very underachieving season thus far.
One of the surprising teams in the East has been the Indiana Pacers. Finishing the season at 48-34, the Pacers find themselves as the fifth-seed in the Eastern Playoffs. Despite losing their best player in Victor Oladiop back in January, the Pacers kept playing basketball. Ranked in the top-3 defensive and balanced offense, the Pacers will be a problem in these playoffs.
Myles Turner leads the league in blocks at 2.69BPG. The Pacers are fourth in the league in field goal percentage at 47.5%. Head Coach, Nate McMillan, has done a great job in keeping his team together for a possible playoff push. If McMillan was not in the Coach of the Year conversation, he definitely should be talked about.
Boston took three of four from Indiana, wining the final three meetings. Boston scored at least 100 points in all four games including dropping 135 on the Pacers back in January. Indiana has scored at least 100 point in three of the four meetings.
Question going into this series for Boston now is how do they adjust without Smart? Smart was sixth in the league at steals at 1.79SPG and you just can’t replace a player like Marcus Smart. Boston is better and have the talent to prove it, but Indiana will not go down without a fight.
Will the talent and playmaking ability of Boston win or will the balance and the surprising Pacers keep on overachieving?
CELTIC PRIDE IN 7
- Game 1: Sunday in Boston 1PM TNT
- Game 2: Wednesday in Boston 7PM TNT
- Game 3: April 19 in Indiana 8:30PM ABC
- Game 4: April 21 in Indiana 1PM ABC
- Game 5: April 24 in Boston
- Game 6: April 26 in Indiana
- Game 7: April 28 in Boston